Oli to seek India’s help for peace bid, says ministry

Talks on extradition treaty ruled out

Kathmandu, November 3:

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Foreign Minister KP Sharma Oli, during his week-long visit to India, will seek New Delhi’s good offices and cooperation in the peace process, sources at the Foreign Ministry said today.

The visit is taking place at a time when parties concerned have settled on “single-lock and UN-seal modality” of arms management, sources said, adding: “Oli will seek support in this connection.”

Oli, which will embark on the visit on Sunday, will apprise New Delhi about the ongoing peace process and the current political developments in Nepal.

“It is a goodwill visit, which aims to apprise the Indian government about the ongoing peace process and political developments in Nepal,” Yadav Khanal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), told The Himalayan Times today.

Asked if the foreign minister would also seek Indian support on the issue of arms management in Nepal, a foreign ministry official said the visit will focus on garnering India’s moral support for the ongoing “peace process and socioeconomic transformation.” Oli, however, will not discuss any bilateral treaties, including the proposed Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

“The Extradition Treaty is not on the agenda. The DPM’s visit will focus on further developing understanding between the two countries,” said the MoFA spokesperson.

He added that the visit was also a follow-up of the Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s official visit to New Delhi, which had taken place from June 6 to 9. “The visit is expected to further consolidate bilateral relations, which would benefit Nepal most,” he said.

Oli is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh, newly-appointed Minister for External Affairs, Pranab Mukherjee, and leaders of Indian political parties.

His visit is also expected to be instrumental in seeking India’s cooperation in addressing existing “trade imbalance” between the two countries.

Oli will also visit Kolkata and Trivandrum and is likely to meet West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula had planned to visit New Delhi to sign the proposed Treaty of Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance last month, but his visit was aborted after the Maoists raised objection over the treaty. Oli’s India visit is being considered crucial also because it is taking place immediately after Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee met DPM Amik Sherchan and CPN (Maoist) chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda.